Brian Kelly came to LSU with something to prove. Upon arriving in Baton Rouge, he inherited a depleted roster that lacked the resources to compete at the highest level. One year later, he turned a 6-6 program into a team that competed for an SEC title.
It didn’t happen overnight, but Kelly’s diligence with the transfer portal and recruiting the state of Louisiana has put this program in position for the future.
Kelly now looks to put the final touches on his first actual recruiting class, which is currently Top 5 in the 2023 cycle.
“We’re going to identify the best prospects throughout the country and you’ll see that in this signing class. We’ll have players from the northeast, the midwest, the west coast. But our base will be Louisiana and the south,” Kelly said. “When you’re LSU and you have a brand that’s so recognizable, you can’t have blinders on either. Our scope and vision is national but it’s not like we’re pulling four guys out of every state. We’re gonna have a heavy influence in the state of Louisiana, like we should.”
Brian Kelly: Building Culture
The roster turnover has been remarkable, and Kelly detailed specific numbers this program will have flipped since his arrival.
“I think within a calendar year, we could be looking to turn over 70 scholarships,” Kelly said. “I certainly don’t think it’s going to be in the mid to high 30s [as the norm]. I think that’s outside the lines. I do believe the high 20s is going to be the norm. I remember years where it was 18, I think those days are over.”
A position group that lacks depth is at cornerback. Losing Mekhi Garner, Jay Ward, Jarrick Bernard-Converse, and Colby Richardson, this program is left with just two scholarship corners.
But reinforcements are on the way. The Tigers are bringing in a historic secondary class that could get even better come Friday. With the decision of 5-star Desmond Ricks lingering, he could be the cherry on top, but regardless this class attains significant depth.
Kelly detailed the importance of building the secondary through high school rather than consistently hitting the portal and getting a player for just one or two seasons.
“You don’t want to jump every year into the transfer portal when it comes to the cornerback position. We did this year because there was such a need to put together a representative group. I think there’s gonna be a heavy influence on freshmen and that’s the way we want to build,” Kelly said. “Does that mean we won’t look at transfers? No, it doesn’t mean we’ll close the door on that, but last year they were one year and done. We’re not looking in that respect. Corners would have to have more than one season of competition left if we go that route.”
There will be many moving pieces over the next few weeks, but Kelly believes in his coaching staff and how they have embraced the challenge of building a program for the long haul.
“Decisions that have to be made relative to we are going into the portal, roster management. There are a lot of moving pieces to this, but I embrace it because I have a good staff,” Kelly said.